Peacebuilders in Southeast Asia and the Caucasus Describe Consciousness and Transformation

In every war zone, there are people who dedicate themselves to peacebuilding in their home community. This research seeks to understand how these people develop and sustain their commitment to peacebuilding while living in war-torn contexts. While research has documented the personal development stories of Gandhi, Martin Luther King, and Nelson Mandela, we have failed thus far to learn from the many everyday heroes working out of the limelight in their home communities. What can they teach us about consciousness and transformation—the ways we perceive and conceive of self, other, our relationships, and how that awareness changes when people dedicate their lives to peacebuilding? And, how can that knowledge help us support the development of more and more local peacebuilders?

The study draws on the experience of peacebuilders from Southeast Asia and the Caucasus to address the following research questions:

  • How do peacebuilding practitioners in Southeast Asia and the Caucasus describe their engagement with consciousness dynamics in their peacebuilding practice?
  • How do peacebuilding practitioners in Southeast Asia and the Caucasus describe the development of their own dedication to peacebuilding?


Dr. Susan Allen Nan

Dr. Susan Allen Nan is a scholar-practitioner of conflict resolution. Her main focus is on bringing theory to practice and bringing practice to theory building. She also works on intermediary roles, coordination, networks, evaluation of conflict resolution initiatives, shifts in consciousness in conflict and conflict resolution, and community conflict resolution approaches. She has engaged long-term in conflict resolution in Eurasia, as well as contributing to a variety of conflict resolution initiatives in Eastern Europe, the Caribbean, South America, and Africa. Dr. Nan joined the ICAR core faculty in 2005 after two years teaching International Peace and Conflict Resolution as Assistant Professor at the School of International Service at American University. This was a return to ICAR. Susan Allen Nan's Ph.D. (2000) and M.S. (1995) degrees are from ICAR. Between graduate school and joining the faculty at ICAR, she co-founded and directed the Alliance for Conflict Transformation (ACT) and served as Senior Program Associate for the Conflict Resolution Program at the Carter Center in Atlanta, GA.

Dr. Al Fuertes

Dr. Al Fuertes specializes in community-based trauma healing as an integral component in peacebuilding and conflict transformation. He travels extensively around the world, particularly in places affected by war, armed conflict, and natural disaster. Al works with government, religious, military, and community leaders, as well as NGO development workers, school administrators, teachers, youth, refugees and internally displaced persons. Al's doctoral dissertation is titled "Community-based Warviews, Resiliency and Healing Among the Internally Displaced Persons in Mindanao and the Karen Refugees on the Thai-Burmese Border. Al is a recipient of the 2008 GMU Teaching Excellence Award and the 2001 AT&T Asia-Pacific Leadership Award. Al earned his Ph.D. in conflict analysis and resolution from George Mason; a master's degree in peace studies from Associated Mennonite Biblical Seminary; and his bachelor's in theology from Silliman University, where he graduated magna cum laude. His fields of expertise include facilitation and dialog (from multicultural perspectives); community-based trauma healing as a component of peacebuilding and community development; refugee and internal displacement issues; faith and spirituality (interfaith, ecumenism, and religious pluralism); conflict resolution and transformation; intermediary roles and practices (multicultural setting); and the theology of struggle, people's theology, and liberation theology.